SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/14 Sept) – Two persons were confirmed dead, 103 others were rescued while a still undetermined number of persons on board a ferry they had to abandon off Southern Leyte Saturday night, remain missing, Capt. Joseph Coyme, Deputy District Commander of the Philippine Coast Guard said.
The number of survivors, however, is more than the number of persons listed on the manifest of the ill-fated MV Marhalika 2 that left Lipata Port here at 11:30 a.m., for Liloan in Southern Leyte, supposedly a four-hour travel.
The situation report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the ferry’s manifest showed only 84 persons on board – 58 passengers, including two children, and 26 crew members – as well as 13 rolling cargoes (trucks and other vehicles).
Coyme said that out of 103 survivors as of 9:30 a.m., two were children, 79 were males and 22 females. Of the three injured, one is a female and the two others are males.
Their names were not immediately made available.
Coyme said four vessels were involved in the rescue operations – MV Maharlika 4; MV Lara Venture and MV St. Martin, both foreign vessels; and MV Filipinas Maasin of Cokaliong Shipping Lines.
The NDRRMC report posted on its website said MV Maharlika 2, a roll on, roll off vessel owned by the Archipelago Ferries Corporation, left the port of Lipata here at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Coyme and the survivors told MindaNews the ferry actually left Lipata at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
The NDRRMC report said the ferry, manned by Capt. Juan Cayago, with 58 passengers and 26 crew members, as well as 13 rolling cargoes, “encountered a steering casualty at 6NM northwest off Binit Point in Panaoan Island (Southern Leyte) due to big waves and strong current.”
The report said Coast Guard personnel in Lipata, Maasin and Liloan were immediately directed to assist and that by 9:20 p.m., “passengers and crew abandoned ship.”
The NDRRMC report also said that MV Marlika 4 arrived in Lipata at around 11 p.m. with 32 survivors on board, two of them rushed to a hospital.
The NDRRMC report also said MV Lara Venture rescued persons while MT St. Martin rescued five and MV Orient King was still in the area.
The report said Harbor Philippine Shipping Company “directed sister-ship Maharlika 4 to assist in the rescue and conduct towing of Maharlika 2.”
According to maritime-connector.com, Maharlika 2 was built in 1984. (Roel Catoto / MindaNews)